Community Nutrition Project (Jiri, Dolakha District)
In 2015, Nepal was struck by a devastating earthquake and aftershocks that claimed the lives of nearly 9,000 Nepalis. In the immediate aftermath, NPCS was engaged in providing emergency food parcels to almost 1800 families in the districts of Lalitpur and Dolakha.
Following the earthquake relief work, NPCS was asked by community leaders to run a longer-term project in Jiri, a municipality in Dolakha District. NPCS worked closely with local government and communities associated with four rural townships to improve the nutrition of women and children using locally available foods.
The project was funded by the Global Health Unit of Global Ministries, USA and Misean Cara, Ireland.
Despite the challenges of conducting a community project during the COVID pandemic, over the three years of this project we delivered training about good nutrition and vegetable gardens to 190 female health volunteers, 318 mothers, 100 grandmothers/mothers-in-law, 74 shopkeepers, 35 teachers and 123 adolescents.
More than 350 mothers attended recipe demonstrations and almost 500 under‑5 children had their growth checked regularly. Hundreds of women attended community nutrition events and celebration days.
An evaluation in 2021 showed that since the project started:
- The number of under‑5 children suffering from chronic malnutrition (stunting) dropped by 5%
- Breastfeeding of infants improved, and mothers were using more nutritious baby foods
- Children receiving an adequate variety of foods in their diet increased from 5% to 42%
- 92% of mothers were keeping a kitchen garden to increase their family’s vegetable consumption
- Families increasingly washed their hands with soap
- Groups of women who were supported to produce and sell “superflour” (a nutritious baby food) had a growing market for their product in their local communities
As NPCS prepared to finish activities, local government authorities hired two of the project staff to continue the nutrition work in the community.